Humboldt reworks home based business license fees

·3 min read

Effective in January, a series of new business licensing fees will take effect through Humboldt.

Storefront businesses will remain the same at $100 per license. Home-based businesses, which had a $375 fee in general saw a decrease. The category was divided into two, with type 1 businesses paying $150 and type 2 businesses paying $250.

Home-based type 1 businesses are those with limited activity, including resident operated only, while type 2 requires further provision for the activity with only one non-resident employee.

Home-based type 1 businesses in the community include accountants, bookkeepers, financial planners, chiropractors, real estate agents, taxi services, janitorial services, landscapers, greenhouses and couriers.

Barbershops, beauty shops and hairdressers in the community currently fall into both home-based type 1 and home-based type 2.

Craft show or exposition, which previously cost $500, now costs $750 per location for trade shows, and $125 per location for craft shows and farmers markets.

Direct seller rose from $30 to 50, while “transient trader” for $375 changed to “out of city limits business,” which became $350.

The changes were passed during the city’s October council meeting on Oct. 25.

During his report to council, Mike Kwasnica, Humboldt’s director of protective services and fire chief, said the changes are to bring the business licensing bylaw in line with the city’s zoning bylaw.

“The purpose of this new business licensing bylaw is to basically clean up the bylaw to make it a little more clear on home-based businesses versus storefront versus out of town business,” Kwasnica said.

“We did refine our categories slightly to make them a little bit easier to understand, and in doing so we’ve also changed the fee structure slightly to make it a little more fair for the smaller businesses.”

Traditionally, the city offered two categories when charging business license fees: home-based businesses and storefront businesses. Storefront businesses are charged at a reduced rate in lieu of their contribution to the commercial property tax base.

This changed when city administration began reviewing its business licensing bylaw due to recent requests from home-based business owners seeking flexibility in the payment of license fees during current hardships. Examples of the rate regularly charged in other Saskatchewan cities were provided by the business owners.

A review of the City of Humboldt’s current business license bylaw by administration found a pattern of what they called “inconsistency when it came to the categorization and charges for businesses other than ‘store front.’”

Further, when the zoning bylaw was referenced for its requirements for home-based businesses it was discovered that there are several businesses operating without proper land use permits including some businesses operating as a prohibited use within a residential zone.

The overall revenues from business licensing were projected at $81,510 for 2021. With the revisions, the 2022 business license revenue is projected at $82,510.

The increase is partially influenced by out of city limits businesses which have been bringing in $30,675, but under the current bylaw will be brought up to $38,150, with approximately 48 businesses increasing from $100 to $350, and another 61 reduced to $350. Another increase was for in-city unclassified which will bring in $6,200 for the 2021 year, but will increase to $9,300 for the 2022 year with 62 businesses increasing by $50.

The city will be bringing in considerably less through subcontractor trades, which previously brought in $11,725, but under the new bylaw has been reduced to $4,800. With 31 decreasing by $225 and one increasing by $50. Another significant decrease is for janitorial and cleaning businesses license fees, which are going from bringing in $4,125 for 2021, to $1,650 in 2022 with 11 businesses decreasing by $225.

The Humboldt Chamber of Commerce was reached out to for comment, but was not made aware of the changes by the city.

Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal

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